A bit of Portuguese history …. 28/12

Unexpectedly, not only did we manage to bar b q, we also managed to eat lunch outside on Christmas eve and Christmas day – to be fair it was a little breezy on Christmas day, but it was worth wrapping up to enjoy a little bit of sunshine with beautiful views out onto the bay.

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Which turned into the following as the sun started to go down….

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We had a lovely tranquil three days in Sao Martinho do Porto and although the campsite itself was ‘average’, it suited the task perfectly. The town itself was very quiet except a handful of people walking along the seafront until Christmas day in the afternoon when half of Lisbon descended upon it, filling the promenade and coffee shops both inside and out. We can only assume that they came from Lisbon as it is about 100km away and by the following morning they had all disappeared…. Very strange.

On Friday morning we woke to blue skies and sunshine (if not a little on the chilly side), but as there was the looming possibility of rain at the weekend we decided to head to Peniche to have a look at the Cabo Cavoeiro (point) and the lighthouse where the views looked out over the Berlengas Islands.

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It was fairly windy, so instead of staying on the Cabo which is 4.5km outside town, we stayed in a Car Park just outside the walled city, opposite the fire station where by the evening 17+ other motorhomes had also decided to park…. you can tell it is the holiday period!

As we hadn’t had time to look around the town when we arrived, we headed in for a quick wander in the morning and came across a fantastic food market brimming with local produce as well as fish, breads and dried fruits and nuts.

Leaving Peniche, we moved on to Obidos which is a Medieval walled with Roman origins on top of a hill.

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The town itself is beautiful, with cobbled roads twisting up and down to fit around houses and the castle itself – unfortunately at this time of year (not helped by the addition of the ‘Christmas fayre’) the ‘chocolate box’ town comes with hundreds of tourists and was rammed, which selfishly let it down. However, it does get extra bonus points as it is the home to ‘Ginja’, which is a cherry liquor and to ‘Pao con Chrorizo’, which is pizza dough stuffed with chorizo and cooked in a hot pizza oven….. I guess you can allow a couple of extra tourists 🙂  – all in all, I would definitely say worth a trip to see and they do have an aire for motorhomes – so parking was easy despite the huge number of cars.

As it was only just after lunch we decided to continue our journey meandering along the coast. After a couple of false starts – as we were thinking about stopping at one of the beaches on route – we ended up in an Aire just outside Sintra up a hill (5 euros a night no electricity). We settled in to a slightly windy evening doing some research on Lisbon, cooked up a lovely Paella and baked some bread…. Tough life that we have 🙂

After a morning run down the hill (and back up again) we set off with our sarnies and waterproofs in the backpack to have a look around Sintra. The town has more history than I could summarise whilst keeping the blog to a reasonable length, so, instead I suggest you have a look at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sintra – it is an interesting read. The whole area is a National park and there are four palaces that sit within walking distance of Sintra old town…. Just to be clear, that is walking distance for Keith and me… worth checking before you make the journey on foot as we did 20km today 🙂

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Unfortunately as we were walking from Palace to Palace the clouds came in and just as we started the climb up to the Mouros Castle and Palacio de Pena which were at the top of the biggest hill – it disappeared….so we couldn’t see anything 😦  – we will just have to come back another time. A beautiful place and well worth a visit – just try and steer clear of eating/drinking in the old town as the prices are extortionate …. We did find a lovely café / patisserie close to the Aire though – ‘Casa do Preto’ Estrada de chao de Meninos, Sao Pedro.

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2 thoughts on “A bit of Portuguese history …. 28/12

  1. Hi gail,
    Well you certainly appear to be getting around a bit. It seems from your Blogs that food figures highly in how much you enjoy a place – why not!. I like the photos and love the quaintness of the places you are showing. We and the girls and grandkids spent 4 days over Xmas up in the snow (2 feet deep) in a rented cabin. The kids had a ball and did some sledding – so did I – great fun! Hope you have a happy new year and look forward to hearing more of your travels. Love Margaret and Stuart.

    • Sounds like you had a lovely family get together away from all the over-commercialisation of Christmas. I am struggling to remember what snow is at the moment as we have just got back from a 30 mile bike ride along part of the Algarve where the sun is shining, the skies are blue and it got up to about 18 degrees today….slightly different than 2ft of snow 🙂
      We are enjoying the travelling and exploring new places, although generally we prefer slightly quieter, less touristy places – but you have to try everything once. We are currently parked up next to a motorhome that I think you and my parents should get for your next trip…. although possibly not to Italy. Unfortunately you would probably need a chauffeur as it is one of the $500,000+ buses with pop out sides ….. rather swish!
      Looking forward to hopefully catching up in Sicily if we manage to be there at the same time.
      Send our love to everyone, Gail

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